A possibility that the "sixth taste" next to "sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, sourness, and umami" will be found
Four tastes, "sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, acidity" are counted as a taste that can be felt by a person with a tongue, and since around 2000, "umami (umami)" was recognized worldwide , It is now thought that there are five tastes. However, as a sixth taste next to these, "Calcium tasteThe possibility that many animals are equipped with a new taste like "It is clear by research.
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This research was advanced by a research team such as the University of California at Santa Barbara and was published in the science magazine "Neuron". By observing changes caused by manipulating genes by eradicating the taste provided in a kind of fly, the existence of a sense of feeling a new taste is emphasized.
Calcium Taste Avoidance in Drosophila: Neuron
Calcium is one of the important minerals for living things, and it is indispensable for human body to make bones and teeth. However, taking over calcium harmful to living things on the one hand, there are cases in which overdose harms health and causes death.
Therefore, in order to know the amount of calcium just right for living things, it is thought that there is a taste that responds to calcium. The research team is a research using Drosophila melanogaster, a type of flies, to clarify the existence of that sensation. Drosophila melanogaster is a living thing that dies by excessive calcium harvesting.
The research team focused on "taste receptor genes" related to taste receptors in Drosophila melanogaster. And by genetic manipulation of Drosophila melanogaster, we created individuals that do not have the taste responsive to calcium in their growth process. Next, prepare individuals and genetically engineered individuals, and add sugar to feed on the two Petri dishes and give them to both. At this time, one petri dish contains food containing sugar mixed with a large amount of calcium.
Then, individuals with normal taste clearly showed actions to avoid calcium mixed feed, whereas individuals lost their taste for calcium by genetic manipulation felt the same way to either food about. And eventually, genetically modified Drosophila which ate a lot of sugar containing calcium harmed health, and eventually many died.
Professor Craig Mondel, who led the research team, said, "While Drosophila has no sense of feeling the lack of calcium, it became clear that there is a sense to stop calcium overtaking, I am talking. Also, from this study, "Surprisingly, we found that there are two mechanisms in the mechanism to avoid calcium, one related to the activation of specific taste receptor genes, It is different from the mechanism to suppress appetite by feeling bitterness. And the other is that calcium inhibits the function of the taste receptor gene activated by sugar ".
According to Mr. Mondel, this gene is found in many animals including humans. By the way, "Calcium taste" seems to be a bit taste of bitterness and sourness mixed little by little.